Making most of their post-retirement phase, elderly people in Doon are coming together to follow their passion for acting and are actively participating in various plays organised in the city. From practising their dialogue for days to bringing their life experiences to their characters, these senior citizens are using their “free time” productively.
‘As I have more time post retirement, I spend a lot of my time in doing plays’
For Santosh Kumar, a 60-year-old retired accountant, theatre is a much sought-after hobby. “Theatre shuru toh shaukh ke liye kara tha par ab theatre humse aur hum theatre se alag nahi ho sakte hai,” he says adding, “While working, I would take out time to participate in plays. I especially like portraying funny, light-hearted characters. I have been associated with Vatayan theatre group since a young age. After retirement, since I have time in my hand, I concentrate more on theatre and enjoy it to the core.” He admits that sometimes he finds it difficult to remember dialogues, but practise makes them almost perfect!
‘Elderly people bring their life experiences to acting, I get to learn a lot from them’
Director of several plays, 30-year-old Yogesh Bhatt, who is a part of the city-based theatre group, 9 Emotions, says, “I have often seen that elderly people have more enthusiasm than youngsters. They bring their life experiences to the table and it can be an enriching experience. While writing dialogues for the elderly, I try to keep them easy so that they can learn them easily. For me, apart from the fun, I also get to learn a lot while working with them.”
‘Theatre helps us maintain a strong bond with our friends’
Gajendra Verma, who had retired from a government job, and is an experienced theatre artist in town, says, “I retired in 2007. I’m 71 years old now and one of the oldest members of the Vatayan theatre group. My friends, who’re also retired, often get together to discuss plays, shows and we plan our rehearsals accordingly. This helps us keep in touch with each other. Thanks to theatre, I’m able to spend my post-retirement time productively.”
Pradeep Ghildiyal, another retired government official who’s now an active theatre artist, says, “I’ve been doing theatre for more than 30 years. I have been more active in group activities after the retirement. I really enjoy doing theatre and I think it is the best way to keep yourself engaged. Theatre has been my passion and I’m glad to be able to devote more time to it.”
‘Theatre changes lives of people’
TK Aggarwal, a 69-year-old retired mechanical engineer, the founder of Kala Manch theatre group, says, “I have been passionate about theatre since my childhood. I love to tell stories and make people laugh. When I was 30, I went to Delhi to learn direction. I got enrolled myself in an acting course and learnt different nuances of acting. It was then that I started doing theatre professionally. After finishing my course in Delhi, I came to Doon and started Kala Manch theatre group.” He adds, “I have seen theatre changing the lives of many people, including the elderly’s. We do socially relevant plays and acting together means we spend a lot of time with each other. So it helps develop bonds of friendship.”
- Mansi Chaturvedi and Taresh Dutta